August 26, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) fields a ground ball against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Milwaukee Brewers won 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates avoid arbitration with Walker, McDonald


The Pittsburgh Pirates won’t have to go to arbitration hearings this season with any of their players after coming to terms on one-year deals with both second baseman Neil Walker and starting pitcher James McDonald on Thursday, avoiding salary arbitration with both players.

Sept 2, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher James McDonald (53) reacts after giving up a 2-run home run to Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks (23) in the second inning at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Walker hit .280 with 14 home runs and 69 RBIs in 129 games last season, signed a one-year deal for $3.3 million after asking for $3.6 million, while the Pirates had countered with $3 million. He made $500,000 in 2012 and was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.

It has been thought last season that the Bucs would work on a long-term deal with the Pittsburgh native, but Walker is still under their control for a couple more seasons, so the Pirates likely won’t be rushing to lock him up to a length deal until probably next year.

McDonald’s deal is for $3.025 million after requesting $3.4 million in arbitration while Pittsburgh countered at $2.65 million.

He is coming off a year in which he went 12-8 with a 4.21 ERA but struggled for most of the second half after pitching like an ace before the All-Star break.

McDonald is expected to be the team’s third starter this season behind A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez.

The deals mean the Pirates have reached agreement with all their arbitration-eligible players.

Pitchers and catchers report to camp in Bradenton, Fla., on Feb. 11.

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